Here in Cape Town we’re finally celebrating the arrival of spring as the days lengthen and the weather warms in the southern hemisphere.  Everyone seems to feel more optimistic and our students are even more motivated to achieve their goals.  Of course, it’s not all work and no play and when classes are over there’s lots to see and do in the city. We have a great group of interns working with us who organise regular activities and get-togethers for our social programme for students.  Naturally, these happy occasions result in plenty of stories that need to be told, so this week my Pre-Intermediate class has been practicing narrative tenses for writing and telling stories.

By the time you reach the Pre-Intermediate level you will already have a good under-standing of the Past Simple and Past Continuous tenses and you’ll probably have had a lot of practice in using these tenses. The Past Perfect, however, will most likely be new to you.

Students need to understand the Past Perfect, which we use to express an action completed before another action in the past, and how it relates to the Past Simple.  Drawing timelines is helpful because they clearly show the order of events and the meanings of the tenses. Story-telling provides a great opportunity to practise the Past Perfect and the other narrative tenses in a useful context so we’ve been reading, listening to, writing and telling all kinds of stories this week. It’s been really interesting to hear students’ personal stories about their experiences and even some traditional stories from their cultures.

Are you thinking of coming to Cape Town to learn English? You’ll have memorable experiences and you will certainly have many stories to tell.  And, with lots of practice in your English classes, you’ll definitely be able to tell your stories in English!